Darth Vader may dominate the Death Star, but he definitely doesn’t clean it. I took this photo because janitorial service is a huge part of students’ everyday lives but not many people talk about it, see it or appreciate it.
All you need for a photo is some light and a camera to render it into an image. Nighttime presents a full range of challenges and opportunities simply because there is much less ambient light to work with. Cameras work similar to the human eye in that the aperture, or opening for light, is similar to the pupil. To get a proper exposure for night photography, I can either widen the aperture, extend the shutter speed or increase the camera’s ISO (sensitivity to light).
Janitorial work is on the margins of campus life to say the least, so I thought a good amount of motion blur would give this photo an appropriately eerie effect. I set my aperture as wide as it could go at an aperture of f/4 and experimented with different shutter speeds. First I tried leaving the shutter open for four seconds, which overexposed the subject. Next I tried using a faster shutter speed of 1/10 of a second, which underexposed the janitor. Several snaps later I arrived at the final exposure with an aperture of f/4, a two second shutter speed and an ISO of 200.
– Jeremy Raff